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It's Martin Luther King Day on Monday. Cadence is off. Breakfast Bytes will not appear. And, as is traditional, I go completely off-topic the day before a break.
In the past, a lot of novelty in eating came from going to restaurants. But I haven't been to a restaurant in almost a year. Instead, I have been experimenting with new recipes that either I haven't cooked before, or I haven't cooked for a long time. My biggest success has been discovering how to cook spatchcocked chicken under bricks. It is so much better than the normal ways of roasting a chicken, and it is now the only method I use.
I told my colleagues about it, and they asked me to take some photos. So I did. But having taken the photos, the easiest way to show them was to put them into a blog post and send them the link. And having put them into a blog post, it seemed a shame to waste the post on just my colleagues, so you get to come along, too, on my first attempt at recipe blogging. Watch out, I'll be starting a YouTube cooking channel next!
You just need three things:
You also need salt, pepper, and aluminum foil, but I assume you have those already. Ideally, you have a set of poultry shears, although in a pinch any pair of kitchen scissors will do.
First, purchase a chicken. Mine was from Trader Joe's.
Remove giblets and lay it on its front (our blogging platform won't let me use the real word, lol), back-side up. Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
With poultry shears, cut down one side of the backbone, and then the other.
Remove the backbone completely.
With a knife, cut the cartilage between the breasts (the blogging platform is fine with it in the plural) until you can open the whole chicken and press it down so it lays flat. I also trim the wing tips and the leg tips. You can put the back, giblets, and other trimmings in a saucepan and make some chicken stock for another day.
Salt and pepper both sides. Maybe add some herbs on the non-skin side (not on the skin, they will burn). Leave for 20-30 minutes. Pat the skin side dry (the salt will have brought moisture out). The drier the skin the crispier and browner it will turn out. Rub the skin with oil and add more salt to replace the salt that you just blotted off. Now for the bricks. Get two bricks and wrap them in foil.
Get a pan. A 12" cast iron one is ideal, but any pan that is big enough and is oven-safe will do. The heavier the better. Turn your extractor on max unless you like your smoke alarm going off. (I'll believe deep learning is really a thing when we can get AI-enabled smoke alarms that can tell the difference between your house burning down and cooking a steak.)
Put on your pan high heat for about five minutes. Then drop the chicken into the dry pan (it doesn't need oil since you already put that on the skin). Put the bricks on top to keep it flat.
Immediately move into the oven. Careful, with a cast-iron pan and two bricks, it is heavy.
Keep it in the oven for 25 minutes. Then remove from the oven, take the bricks off, and turn the chicken over so that it is now skin side up.
Put back in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Then put under the broiler for a few minutes to make the skin really crispy.
Serve. It will be the juiciest chicken you've ever had, with the crispiest skin.
Or if you prefer a video version (not me...my cooking YouTube channel doesn't actually exist...yet):
You can also make this on a grill, but I don't have one anymore, so I haven't tried this. But Google around, there are plenty of recipes and videos of how to do it on charcoal, gas, smokers, and more.
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